Director's Dispatch: January 25

posted Jan 23, 2013, 6:58 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 25, 2013, 1:21 AM ]
Welcome Back everyone and I hope that you enjoyed the winter break!  

It gives me great pleasure to welcome three new staff members to ISD.  We welcome our new School Librarian Colette Chalier and her children. Colette has dual American and Canadian citizenship and they have arrived most recently from Zambia. We also welcome our new School Nurse Mrs. Aminata Niang.  Some of you may recognize Aminata from her years working at the US Embassy. Her training was done in Dakar and she has trained nurses and doctors to work in the bush!.  We also welcome Mr. Mohammed Fall our new Finance Manager. Mohammed is Senegalese with experience in Dakar, the Congo, Canada and the USA where he received his Masters in Accounting from Western Michigan University.  We wish all of them well and hope they will enjoy their time with us here at ISD.

The school building projects continue to progress and we continue to working towards improving our security.  Right now projects on the library expansion and the gate house changes are being completed.  The lines have been painted on the new outdoor basketball and volleyball courts and next up is the conversion of the former KG and Grade 5 building into the new Administrative area so that the current administrative area can become the new stores area.  These were all part of the Master Building Plan envisioned by previous Boards and we are now in the process of streamlining and revising the plan for the future.

There has been a lot of talk recently about how students with special needs are provided for at ISD. The article below was written so that parents and students could have access to more knowledge and factual information to allow them to be better informed on this issue.


Accessing the Curriculum

 

Around the world, the work that students do at ISD each day can be described in terms of accessing the curriculum. Each grade has requirements and when teachers report to parents they are reporting on student progress in attaining curricular aims.

 

Students with mild special needs access the curriculum through accommodations of their special needs. So long as a student can access the curriculum they will continue to be promoted each year. Students with mild LD’s receive extra pullout assistance in reading and writing, specifically in things like letter formation and sentence structures, Other accommodations like preferential seating in classes, extra time on tests and exams, using calculators and computers and enlarging print, can also be made. This means that ISD can also accommodate children with mild Visual Impairments and mild Hearing Disabilities in addition to the students with Mild Learning Disabilities.

 

In schools that have students with moderate to severe learning needs the students can only access the curriculum if it is modified. Students whose curriculum is modified do not attain regular grade levels and are promoted through age appropriateness. These students do not usually receive regular report cards or promotions.

 

Students with developmental disabilities usually learn from a completely separate curriculum that involves the instruction of life skills and the learning of things that will help them live independently. In North America, most classes for students with developmental disabilities receive programming in what is referred to as a "semi-integrated" environment, where, while the students are in a separate class, they are together with their peers who are learning the same way that they do. The class and program is contained within a regular school and the students are fully integrated for assemblies, lunch, dances and homeroom. These students have access to essential additional services such as Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Behavioural Therapy- all services that ISD cannot access in English.

 

In North America, young students who cannot access the curriculum are frequently placed in regular classes, until they reach a point where their learning no longer advances. It is at this point that schools have to make tough decisions about what is in the best interest of that child and whether or not the child should continue despite the fact that he or she is no longer receiving any benefit from the school. These students require life skill classes and specialised programs.

 

English-speaking students in Dakar with profound learning needs or developmental disabilities do not have access to English-speaking specialists, however multilingual students have access to the three French schools in Dakar that have specialised life skills programs within regular private schools. Should families in Dakar wish to take advantage of these specialized programs and classes at Reine Fabiola, Jean D'Arc and EAB, the learning support team at ISD is able to assist upon request.

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